• Kevin Jones

Evolving Technology Outlook: The Hong Kong Jockey Club - Chirag Desai

Gaming Eminence asks Chirag Desai - Head of IT Digital & Channels Solutions at The Hong Kong Jockey Club to see his perspective on the impact technology has had within the gambling industry.


GE) Over the past 10 years we have seen the rise of everyday technology in not only making people's lives easier, but also the capturing of individual information or what some would call our “digital footprint”. How have you seen these changes effect the gambling industry?


CD) The Gaming Industry has faced many challenges with regard to Data Protection and Data Privacy as both specific Regulatory Jurisdictions or Europe wide regulations such as GDPR put ever greater focus on both what data we can capture, and how we use it, enrich it and ultimately allow users to manage or request deletion of that data.


As an industry, we have had to both comply with these regulations but also change our internal processes and systems to ensure adherence to the regulations and maintain our ability to continually improve our Customer experience, and ensure they can wager with us safely.


GE) With the advancements in technology, it is playing more of a role in the gambling industry. Do you feel operators are leaning more towards wanting to being considered a tech business and if so why?


CD) It is very much the case that operators have evolved their operating models towards those of Technology companies, in order to stay ahead in a very competitive and fast changing market.


We have always been at the forefront of harnessing new technologies, from the dawn of Shop Betting, through the rise of internet and now Web 3.0 and 4.0 and hence we have to think and operate in this manner to attract developers, and product specialists who think and work in this way.


From Customer Centricity, to Hybrid Cloud, sophisticated Payment systems, Security, Mobile first and beyond, I am often amazed at how far ahead the global Sports Betting and Gaming industry has forged ahead of other industries, who are only now catching up with what we have been doing for many years


GE) If you had to list the top 5 advancing technologies on the minds of leaders within the gambling industry, what would they be and why?


CD) Hybrid Cloud – to balance the needs of Regulatory Compliance where on-prem or in-state/country hosting of key equipment is mandated vs the synergies and scale of SaaS/Public Cloud


Data Analytics and AI - Data will increasingly be the oil that drives the engines of our industry and we will need to continue to invest in sophisticated DA/AI to both drive better acquisition marketing, LTV and protect those players in both an increasingly competitive and regulated market


Security – In an ever more unpredictable world, cash rich Gaming companies will increasingly be targets for Cybercrime. Most large operators have been leading the charge for over 10 years, but the threats are evolving and we need to stay on our toes.


Remote Working – Relocating to a sunny jurisdiction like Gibraltar or staying put in the office, will not be the working environment of the post Covid world. Leaders will need to adapt to the needs of their employees so that they can work remotely, flexibly and securely… but not necessarily in your corporate offices!


Crypto & Block chain – How do we balance the needs to comply with KYC, AML and Source of Funds checks with a new generation of crypto savvy customers?


About our contributor

Chirag has been working in the offshore and onshore Betting & Gaming industry since 2006 with Ladbrokes, Gala Coral, William Hill & The Hong Kong Jockey Club, where he is currently the Head of IT Digital & Channels Solutions.

In that time he has led delivery programmes spanning regulated jurisdictions within EMEA, the US and Asia and Technology & Culture transformation initiatives’ Visit https://corporate.hkjc.com/corporate/english/who-we-are/index.aspx